clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Arrowheadlines: Chiefs News 12/1

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Good morning! Evidently, it's Matt Cassel day in today's Kansas City Chiefs news. We also have an excellent article on Scott Pioli from Sports Illustrated's Joe Posnanski. Seriously good stuff ahead. Enjoy!

The regular season is entering its twilight, and the Chiefs now have to determine whether that will be good or bad for their playoff chances. This part of the season is about mind control as much as anything, and Haley said this week that it’s a good time to refocus and continue sharpening the team’s mental toughness.

"The easy thing to do," Haley said, "would be to let up and pat them on the back and say, ‘Hey, we’re doing good.’ I don’t believe in that. I believe that you have to keep pushing and prying if you want greatness."

Chiefs prepare to grind it out in final stretch of season from KC Star

This year the Chiefs have improved dramatically-on Sunday they beat the Seahawks 42--24 for their seventh win in 11 games, more victories than they had in 2008 and '09 combined-and Pioli has stayed in character. He has been distant, careful, emerging only every now and again, mostly to remind everyone that his team is still a work in progress. He sits behind that big desk, and he scouts college players, and he talks with agents, and he works over the salary cap, and he pushes his coaches, and he raises expectations, and he pierces egos, and every now and again he stares at his wall where the Winesburg, Ohio passage is written in calligraphy. The young man, going out of his town to meet the adventure of life.

A Dream In The Making from Sports Illustrated

In case you hadn't noticed, the Chargers are breathing down the Chiefs' neck. KC is 7-4 in the division and San Diegois 6-5. I've predicted this entire season that SD will win the West. I never wavered, even when they were 2-5 and I'm not wavering now. Does this mean I luv the Chiefs any less? Of course not. I'm just a realist.

Chiefs: Watch Out for the Chargers! from Upon Further Review

He's thriving off play-action provided by a top-ranked rushing attack featuring Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones.

But Cassel's made his biggest strides by taking quicker ones away from center, shedding his habit of staring down the middle the duration of his drop backs.

"He's growing up before our eyes," Haley said of his quarterback. "The easy thing is to look at Matt and say, 'Well, let's try and make him like Tom Brady.'

"But his foot speed and athleticism is so much better. Drawing the parallel to Drew has been a huge key because of Matt's foot speed.

Matt Cassel using Drew Brees as inspiration for big turnaround from USA Today

Cassel has the Chiefs on top of the AFC West. He's won more games (7) in 11 starts than the club won the past two seasons (6). He hasn't lost at home. He leads the league in touchdown percentage. He's second only to Tom Brady in ratio of touchdowns-to-interceptions. And he's fourth overall in passer rating, ahead of luminaries like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan.

"Matt Cassel keeps setting the bar higher and higher," coach Todd Haley said after Kansas City's latest victory.

Cassel proving to be difference-maker in K.C. from CBS Sports

The Broncos dominated the Chiefs in a 49-29 win three weeks ago in Denver but things should be much different this time around with the game being played in Kansas City. The Chiefs won three of their last four home games by at least 18 points. The final margin on Sunday might not be so fat. But with the league's top rushing attack, a red-hot passing combination in Matt Cassel to Dwayne Bowe and an opportunistic defense, the Chiefs will have too much for the Broncos this time. Prediction: Chiefs 31, Broncos 24.

Week 13 Matchup: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs from The Sporting News

Now while the season is far from over the Bolts completing a sweep of the AFC South and going a perfect 3 for 3 in the month of November or should I say Norv'ember they find themselves again in the mix for the AFC West title sitting one game back behind the AFC West leading Kansas City Chiefs which they face a week from Sunday at home.

A perfect Norv’ember from

Chargers or Chiefs? That's maybe the toughest call to make in the entire playoff picture. It's just hard to find an edge here. Both teams put the hammer down last week. The rest of the way, both teams play Oakland, Denver, and each other. San Diego also has San Francisco and Cincinnati, while KC also has St. Louis and Tennessee. They each have three on the road and two at home. Looking at tiebreakers (skipping the remaining head-to-head matchup for a moment), both teams are 1-2 within the division, while the Chargers are 5-3 in the conference against KC's 4-4. The winner of the game between these two teams is pretty likely to win the division. That one's next week, in San Diego.

The somewhat premature 2010 playoff picture: Week 12 from Yahoo! Sports

Cassel is one of the top overall players in fantasy football. He joins Fred Jackson, Brandon Lloyd, Jacob Tamme and Peyton Hillis as players who will help decide fantasy titles. By the way, where did you draft those guys? Meanwhile, Ryan Mathews, Shonn Greene and Randy Moss are pretty much worthless right now. That's why I've always said the most overrated aspect of fantasy football is the draft. It may be fun but when it's all said in done, the fantasy draft matters little in my opinion.

Fire Sale: Cassel Quietly Emerging as One of Fantasy's Top Quarterbacks from Sports Illustrated

The Chiefs are known for being a conservative, run-first team. Don't tell that to Matt Cassel.In the last seven games, Cassel, above right, has averaged 7.7 yards per pass attempt with 18 touchdowns and an interception. By comparison, in his last seven games, Peyton Manning has averaged 6.3 Y.P.A. with 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

What the Loser of Jets-Patriots Is Up Against from The New York Times

Yet, there's a different word that so often comes out of the coach's mouth in his postgame news conferences: adjustments, particularly those made by the opposition.

In 2009, McDaniels' first season, it seemed to take the rest of the league weeks (six, in fact) to solve the Broncos. After the 6-0 start, teams adjusted to the Broncos' screen-based offense and new 3-4 defense, and that resulted in a 2-8 finish.

In 2010, opponents seem to be catching on more quickly.

Broncos coach McDaniels says adjustments can be overrated from The Denver Post

The Broncos' beleaguered defense is coming off a game in which it surrendered 308 passing yards to Rams rookie quarterback Sam Bradford. It was his first career 300-yard passing game, he was not sacked and he did not throw an interception.

This Sunday the Broncos get to face the Chiefs' Matt Cassel.

And while Bradford showed he has the ability to drive defenses nuts for quite some time, there may be no quarterback this side of Philip Rivers who is as red-hot as Cassel.

Analysis: Broncos must deal with Chiefs' red-hot Cassel from The Denver Post

Arrowhead Pride Premier

Sign up now for a 7-day free trial of Arrowhead Pride Premier, with exclusive updates from Pete Sweeney on the ground at Arrowhead, instant reactions after each game, and in-depth Chiefs analysis from film expert Jon Ledyard.